The hope of the season packed into boxes
It’s that time of year when we once again see multitudes of those familiar red and green Operation Christmas Child boxes being collected for underprivileged children world wide.
With an anticipated 11 million boxes going to kids this year, Operation Christmas Child is the largest Christmas project of its kind.
This project is an outreach of the Samaritan’s Purse organization, which is an evangelical international relief group based in North Carolina and founded by Reverend Franklin Graham.
Shoebox gifts are collected in the U.S., Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom.
More than 100 thousand volunteers in the United States are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing the shoeboxes, with many of those volunteers located right here in Shepherdstown.
Jennifer Satterlee, one of the local Operation Christmas Child distribution center coordinators explained that relay centers in various counties collect the shoe boxes and bring them to Covenant Church in Shepherdstown. The boxes will then be sent to either Baltimore, Maryland or Charlotte, North Carolina to begin the journey oversees and into the arms of a grateful child.
“So far we’ve received 2,700 boxes, but we’re expecting to get 20,000 here before the day is over,” said Satterlee.
Each box is carefully packed with items according to guidelines specified by the Operation Christmas Child organization. The shoeboxes may contain anything from toys, soccer balls and school supplies to clothing articles or hygiene items, and also include literature about God translated into the language of a child’s native region.
The vast majority of the boxes come from local churches, but there are many other organizations that participate as well. The Covenant Church distribution center has had boxes come from 4-H, Kiwanis clubs, Boy Scouts, Shepherd University, the Honor Society of Jefferson High School and individuals who wish to contribute.
Samaritan’s Purse allows locals to connect and participate in global outreach in a very easy and tangible way.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 113 million boxes to over 150 countries, giving the hope and joy of the Christmas season one shoebox at a time.